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From Left Field: The big picture as B1G expands to the Pacific coast
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News broke late last week that USC and UCLA are leaving the Pac 10/12/16 for the Big 10 (B1G). This is a move that would stretch the Big 10’s reach from coast to coast and cover the Big 3 American metropolises of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

I’ve heard talking heads, columnists, reporters and fans either lambast the move, or express uneasy feelings about “how weird it will feel.”

But I think they are all missing the point. I don’t want to go too conspiracy-theorist on you, but listen: To me, this move is just the next major step to the inevitable — the death of the NCAA. 

And I’m OK with that.

Think of it this way, SoCal blue bloods USC and UCLA bolt, leaving behind NoCal’s Stanford and Cal. Do you think that will stay like that? I don’t. Stanford and Cal are coming next. As well as Washington, and possibly Washington State. And then Colorado, and maybe Utah. Heck, at that point, just grab Arizona and Arizona State.

That’s eight Pac 10 teams entering the Big 10, which would be expanded to 22. Is there anyone else out there worthy of the Big 10 grabbing? Why not Notre Dame and Iowa State? Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Baylor might be appealing as well, unless those Big 12 teams join the SEC as former mates Oklahoma and Texas are about to.

Between the Big 10 and SEC, we could see two conferences end up with 20 to 30 teams each over the next couple of years. If either the ACC, Pac 10 or Big 12 try to expand to match, that could give three conferences with over half of the college football landscape, let alone blue bloods of the other sports. 

What’s next is simple: The Death of the NCAA. 

These two or three conference could break away from the NCAA’s umbrella. New TV and advertising deals. New transfer rules and less restrictions with NIL would allow for more personalized merchandise and video games. The leagues could hold inter-league tournaments to replace the current NCAA system. A National Championship in football is already all but based on the five major conferences right now, so why can’t one league pit their bests against each other?

Come March Madness, we might lose that Northern Iowa vs. Purdue matchup in the first round, but a 90-team tournament between all the blue bloods of the “Big 3” conferences would be just as intriguing and exciting to watch. New gambling rules could be put in place for the leagues/conferences to better maximize profit off of tournament betting, and hopefully we could get an end-of-season montage better than the constantly played “One Shining Moment” that ran its course more than a decade ago.

This move would end the less-than-equal and unjustifiable disparity in punishment for infractions, where a major football coach with blatant recruiting and booster money violations loses 10 wins off his record, while a swimmer from Tulane that borrowed a dress while attending her best friend’s wedding might lose a year of eligibility. That could simply … end.

The NCAA’s biggest problem for decades has been exploiting the athletic prowess of students under the guise of “amateurism” to make a heck of a profit. Conferences see that, and are seeing where they can get a bigger piece of the pie, all while holding less accountability. 

Will this take away some of the “nostalgia” of feeling you’re watching an “amateur” competition? Probably. Will it matter in the long run? No.

I say let’s do it, and do it sooner than later.

As for the NCAA? Well, someone will have to look over the mid-majors, DII and DII programs. Not quite the profit, but, well, something that more-closely resembles college sports of the past, rather than the future.

— Adam Krebs is the editor of the Monroe Times. He can be reached at